As managers, we tend to focus on the “here and now.” We obsess over pipelines, deal strategies, account plans, prospecting. We closely monitor monthly, quarterly goal attainment.
If we are doing what we should be doing, as leaders, we are coaching and supporting our people. We are identifying opportunities to improve performance and results. We are getting them resources to help them achieve their goals. We are helping them learn the things they need to do to be successful.
And we do this, over and over, quarter after quarter, chasing these goals, maximizing the ability of our people to achieve these goals.
But something’s missing.
Our people want to achieve more than just hitting the number. They want to grow, they want to learn, develop. They may want the opportunity to take on new responsibilities, whether it’s moving into management, moving into more senior sales roles, perhaps exploring roles in other functions. They aspire to contribute in a different way. They are looking out to future years, understanding what their career might be.
We, also, have a responsibility to our organizations. We want to retain our people. We want to leverage their knowledge and experience. We want to grow their ability to contribute, driving our own abilities to grow and achieve. We’ve invested a huge amount in them, it would be foolish both to lose that investment–seeing them go somewhere else (perhaps our competitors), and to not take advantage of that in having them take on more responsibility.
We talk about the “great resignation/readjustment/etc.” Part of that is people see no future in their current companies. They don’t see the ability to grow and contribute at higher levels, to achieve more, to build a career.
Sadly, we focus on the month to month, quarter to quarter. We create jobs where we don’t think about future development paths/opportunities. We just insist on ever increasing activity levels, demanding our people keep their noses to the grindstone. We don’t think beyond these short term goals. And we pay the price, we’ve created a revolving door on talent, losing good people because they see no future.
It’s ironic, if we are in any level of management, it’s because someone saw something in us, took an interest in developing us, helping us see possibilities to grow and contribute at higher levels. We’ve gotten to where we are because some prior manager cared.
We waste so much opportunity, we lose so much talent, because we don’t create places where people want to work. Where they can grow, develop, contribute. Where they feel they matter and others care for their success.
Each person on our team has differing goals. Some want to remain in sales roles, perhaps taking different responsibilities. For example, they may start as SDRs, move to AE, move to product line specialist, move to account managers, perhaps into global account managers. Others aspire to move into leadership. Others may want to move to other parts of the organization. Some of their expectations may be unrealistic, some may be underestimating their potential.
But one of our most critical responsibilities, as leaders, is building the capabilities, and growing our people, growing their ability to contribute within our organizations.